INDIANAPOLIS – While Peyton Manning joined the Indianapolis media for a conference call on Wednesday, the Denver quarterback didn't open up too much on the topics you would expect.
Manning provided little insight into the health of tight end Julius Thomas and didn't want to rehash the awkward nice of facing his former team in the playoffs.
Here is the transcript from Manning's call with the media (Denver media below):Has it been too long ago to draw much from that first game against the Colts in September?
"Yeah, I mean, you've got to be careful trying to draw too much. A lot of teams change throughout the course of the season. Injuries, personnel, different things that worked for you, didn't work. I think anytime you're playing a team that you played before you still may study the previous game but know that there's been a lot of changes since then."
Statistically you guys have altered some over December. Was that a conscious effort to get the run game going?
"It's a little bit of just our offense and kind of some things that we've tried to do to help us win the football game. Every game kind of takes on a different identity and you never quite know how it's going to unfold. We just try to find different ways to win football games I guess is the main thing."
Has it helped you at all to have a running game and draw more defenders in the box?
"Like I said, I think anytime you can do more to keep a defense off-balance, not let them focus on one thing, play you one-dimensionally, I think it helps you. If you can have the threat of a run game, the drop back pass and play-action on any given down-and-distance, I certainly think that helps you."
What were your impressions of Mike Adams as a teammate the last two years and what do you see from him on film now?
"Mike was a great teammate the past two years. He and I got here together as free agents. Mike always talked about the places he had played, how he never really had a chance to win many football games. He was obviously excited about coming to Denver and being a part of two winning teams. He was a great leader for us, great veteran. I was sorry to see him go. He's really played well for them this year. He's made a lot of plays, helped them create a lot of turnovers, just his veteran experience, you can see that paying off for their defense."
Did the week off help Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas get back to where they need to be physically?
"Yeah, that's probably a little too much or private information I guess for our team, what goes on at our practice field."
How do they look?
"Same thing. I think it's along the same lines, isn't it? Yeah."
Can you appreciate the irony in this game? In your career, you probably never expected to be preparing to play a playoff game against the Colts, right?
"Well certainly not while I was playing for the Colts. That probably would be hard to do, wouldn't you think? Yeah. I'm not sure if I missed the question or not."* (How strange is it for you to prepare for this game?)*
"I think we've kind of covered that before. I've been three years here in Denver. This will be the third time playing against them. I played against them last year. Played against them earlier this year, so we've kind of been down that road before. This is a team you certainly expected to see in the postseason. When we played them earlier in the season, you certainly knew they were a team that was going to be in the postseason. Obviously it's been our goal to get this point, but you knew, there's just certain teams that you play in the regular season whether it's the Colts or the Patriots, that if you do your job and get to the postseason, you certainly expect to possibly see them again."
Do you appreciate the growth of Andrew Luck the past three years?
"Well, it's not surprising at all. When you combine somebody with as much ability as he has with, from what you hear about it, just a great work ethic. It's not surprising that he's had the success that he's had, and he's had such a big impact on their offense playing so well."
Do you have great confidence in being able to get back to the Super Bowl with this team?
"Like I said, we're just trying to take care of just a good week of practice right now this week. We've been through a lot this season. We've had different injuries and overcome some things and so hopefully everything that we've been through in the regular season has prepared us for all the things that come up possibly during a playoff game. We had a good practice today and we're going to try and have a good rest of the week. All we're focused on is trying to do our best against a good team on Sunday. That's really the focus. Just like we've done all season, just kind of one step at a time."
Questions With Denver MediaOn investing in both Denver and Indianapolis communities
"I live here in Denver now. The [PeyBack] Foundation has done some things here to try to help out some of our youth in the Colorado area. I've always given back to the other areas I've lived in. Whether it's the New Orleans area or the whole state of Tennessee where I went to school and where my wife's from—of course I lived in Indianapolis for 14 years, but I've live in Colorado here now. So the majority of our foundation is based here in Colorado, where most of the money goes. We had a thanksgiving food drive there in Indianapolis. We've done that for quite some time. I've had four communities that have had a big impact on me so I've tried to give back to those four communities—where I grew up, where I went to college, where I played the first part of my pro career [and] now where I live now."
On dealing with comparisons to Colts QB Andrew Luck
"I guess if you're the first pick of the draft, you're always going to be compared to other first picks. When you play for a team, there are going to be comparisons to other quarterbacks that have played. Obviously it's an outstanding start to his career. It's not a surprise at all to me when a guy that has as much talent as he has, you combine that with the kind of work ethic that you hear that he has and the times that I've been around him. You just knew that he would do everything that he could—combined with his talent—be a special player. He's had a great start; he's had an awesome year this year and it's really allowed their team to win as many games as they have because of the way he's played combined with the way their defense has played. I've never thought much about comparisons, how it affects me, and I'm sure he doesn't either."
On his stats during his Super Bowl year in 2005 not bouncing off the page
"I'm not sure I know the answer to it. This is 2015; we're playing Indianapolis in this divisional round. That is where the focus is in trying to do our job versus a good team, a team that is playing hot. A team that is playing with a lot of momentum, won six out of the last seven, coming off a win against a good Cincinnati team. We're trying to do our job and anything that's happened in years past, six, seven, eight years ago, I'm not sure the impact it has on this particular game."
On what the team's window is to win the Super Bowl
"I can't speak to the window, I've been being asked about the window for 10 years it seems like. I think our team's played with a sense of urgency all season to tell you the truth. I think that is how you have to play in the NFL today. You play every game, you try to play fast, play with a sense of urgency, whether it's a particular play you're trying to execute and so that's been our attitude all season: play with a sense of urgency. That is what we're going to have on Sunday because it's helped us win a lot of games this year."
On facing his old team again
"I think we covered that. I've been here in Denver for three years, [and this is] third time we've played them. Obviously two years ago or last year [we] went back there to play and I understand that was a unique story but [we] played them this regular season—like I said earlier, we played them in the regular season in the first game. You hope you do your job but when you play a team like the Colts or a team like the Patriots or a team like Cincinnati, you feel like there is a good chance you're going to see them possibly again in the postseason. You just know they are going have a good year because they are a good football team. It's not a surprise at all that they are one of the teams that we might potentially play and it's going to be a great football game."
On how much has Colts' defense evolved and improved since Week 1
"It's been a long time since we played them. They've been playing well, they do a great job on third down, getting you off the field, really make you go on a long drive—[P Pat] McAfee has a lot to do with that putting you in tough field position but they play good field position football. Teams have to go out on long drives and teams don't do that very often. They are playing well upfront, linebackers, secondary so it really does feel like quite some time since that last game."